By George Eliot Paperback £6.99 (reviewed by Elyse)
George Eliot’s Middlemarch is a long but gloriously humble read. It is a rare classic where its provocation of philosophy, and its emotionally intellectual language, resonates still; even two centuries onwards from its provincial past. Embedded in 837 pages, there are love stories; men who go from rags to riches, deceit and betrayal, debates of the great questions of the Victorian period of empire and science, theology and philosophy wrapped up in pastoral life. Yet, in its intellectual heaviness, it is witty and sensational. If you love Jane Austen, Mary Elizabeth Braddon or Oscar Wilde, you will find Middlemarch worth the length. You will be friendly with the characters and before long, encouraging or criticising their life choices. Each of the stories of the families spin out into interconnected webs to build an omnipresent view of provincial life. Great for the sun lounger, or the armchair; as no matter the weather, it’s the nature of Victorian escapism that truly whisks you away.